Frequently Asked Questions?


FAQIf you want a volunteer experience where you’ll be standing on the sidelines observing, this may not be for you.  Dr. Georges Bwelle leads all of ASCOVIME’s missions and gets everyone involved in every aspect of each mission.  Whether you are a teacher looking to have a new experience, a pre-med student seeking to discover your career, or a wall-street suit looking for an adventure, all are encouraged to help out.  With an open mind and a passion to give, you’ll find this endeavor rewarding, enlightening, and life-altering.

All interested individuals, including undergraduate students, medical students, and medical professionals are welcome to join our program.  If medically not experienced, you can nevertheless participate ASCOVIME. The volunteer process and program fees also differ for medical professionals (licensed nurses, dentists, medical doctors, etc), please email for further information.

Mobile Weekend Clinics: Volunteers will have the opportunity to travel with ASCOVIME on weekend initiatives to rural parts of Cameroon to directly assist doctors during clinics.  Usually a bus with 30 volunteers departs in Yaoundé on Friday. After arrival in the village, you will consult patients during the daytime. If medically not experienced, there will be other work to do, e.g. in the pharmacy. At night the surgery starts, where you have the opportunity to assist. On Sundays volunteers head back to Yaoundé.

During the week:  Participants in ASCOVIME’s Volunteer Program will spend weekdays assisting medical staff at hospitals in and around Yaoundé.  Medical student volunteers will be able to shadow and assist physicians in local hospitals during routine examinations and procedures.  Qualified medical professionals will be able work with ASCOVIME doctors to support specialized patient services and medical support.During the week you have the opportunity to work in a hospital in Yaoundé.  You can join Dr. Bwelle to the Clinic of Visceral Surgery in the Central Hospital. If interested in other specializations, ASCOVIME is able to arrange something for you. And don’t forget: Cameroun is a wonderful country for travelling, so may safe some time therefore.

ASCOVIME trips run from February to November on nearly every weekend. ASCOVIME trips will run year-round for any length of time, however, we suggest a trip of 2 to 4 weeks minimum.   Exact volunteering tasks will vary depending on the number of volunteers at a time, the length of the trip and the schedule of mobile clinics.

ASCOVIME is a non-profit and non-governmental organization. It is financed only with Dr. Bwelles salary and private donations. For volunteers who can bring specific medical supplies, the program fee may be reduced. For licensed medical professionals, the program fee is waived.

The following are suggested contributions:

Program Length 2 wks 4 wks more than 4 wks
Program Fee $2000 $3500 3500 + $/wk
There is a generous discount for volunteers who bring medical supplies or critically needed equipment.

Program Fee: includes all housing and transportation during mobile clinic trips, housing in Yaoundé, daily transportation to worksite in Yaoundé, transportation to/from airport, stipend paid to hospital for volunteering.

Although Cameroun is officially bilingual (80% french and 20% english), the french speaking population hardly speaks any English. It is therefore recommended, to speak some French when coming to Cameroun. Most members of Ascovime speak at least a bit of English, so that you would also survive without french skills.

Medications:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications (tablets, creams, injections) E.g: ibuprofen, diciofenac, serapeptase, acemetacine
  • Analgesics (tablets, injections) e.g: paracetamol, acetaminophin, noramidopyrine, tramadol, dextropropoxyphen
  • Antibiotics (tablets, injections) e.g: amoxy, doxy, genta, metronidazole, cotrimoxazol, erythromycine, ceftriaxone, cefotaxime, ceftazidine, ciprofloxacine, levofloxacine, azythromycine
  • Gastric Drugs: ranitidine, omeprazole
  • Anti-parasitics (mebendazole)

Medical Supplies:

  • Sterile drapes
  • Iodine/Alcohol
  • Gloves
  • Forceps for surgery
  • Gauze
  • Scalpel blades
  • Suturing threads
  • Other sterile surgical supplies

  • Suture/stitches (vicryl 4-0; 3-0; 2-0; 0; 1; 2; Surgipro; non absorbable; prolene; absorbable)
  • Gauze
  • Sterile gloves ( 6.5; 7; 7.5; 8 )
  • Scalpel blades
  • Antiseptics( isobetadine, cytéal, alcohol , …)
  • Forceps( with and without teeth, Debakey, gallstone)
  • Clamps (stone,gastro intestinal, rubber shod ,allis, allen, babcock, De Matel, haemostatic like Halstead and adson, Kelly, kocher, right angle for the rectum, satinsky, …)
  • Mesh/ cone lichtenstein (for hernias)
  • Cauterizer
  • Anoscope

Surgery_3170

  • Sclerosing solution for hemorroïd
  • Rubber-banding for treatment of hemorroïd
  • Drain (closed-suction, Jackson-Pratt, Hemovac)
  • Catheters
  • Needle-driver
  • Retractors (Gelpi, Balfour, Hill-fergusson)
  • Sponge-holder
  • Scissors (metzembaum, mayo, Potts…)
  • Sterile metal boxes for instruments

If you have the opportunity to bring medical supplies, don’t hesitate and depending on what you are able to buy your program cost will be reduced. You can write Mails to pharmacies, hospitals and medical companies to ask for donations. Most airlines allow 2x23kg luggage, so there should be lots of room for medical supplies. Usually there are no problems with the customs. Here is a list of key supplies needed:

  • Suture:                 VICRYL                                  1; 2; 2/0; 3/0; 0 PROLENE             1; 0; 2/0
  • Painkillers:          Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Diclofenac, Metamizol…
    •  Omeprazol, Ranitidin, Cimetidine
  • Antibiotics:
    • Amoxicillin,  Amoxicillin/Clavulanic Acid
    • Ciprofloxacin
    • Clarithromycin or other Macrolides
    • Metronidazol
    • Ceftriaxon
  • Gloves #8211; sterile/unsterile

  • Blank Workbooks/Exercise Books
  • Chalks
  • Books
  • Pencils, Pens, Erasers
  • Ruler
  • Backpacks
  • Electric Torch or Oil Lamp
  • Any Teaching Materials

Visa:  For Cameroun you need a visa. Ask Mesmin to send you the invitation letter you need for the application!

Vaccinations:  The only mandatory vaccination needed is Yellow Fever. Next to the standard vaccinations it is recommended to vaccinate against Hepatitis A and B, Meningococcal and Typhoid Fever. Weather you vaccinate against Cholera and Rabies is up to you.

  • Mosquito net – optional: they are available in the dormitory and during the Campaigns you usually don’t need them
  • Sleeping bag and air mattress – optional: During the Campaigns you usually sleep in the bus or beds are available
  • Pillow for never ending bus trips
  • Jumper for cold nights in the bus
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Box for food
  • Headlamp for surgery and the dormitory
  • Computer – you can store your computer relatively safe in the dormitory
  • Long trousers – don’t make the mistake and arrive only in shorts in Africa – people here wear long trousers!
  • For the clinic:
      • Stethoskop
      • Coat
      • You don’t need white trousers and shirts, but make sure you wear close-fitting clothes under your coat
      • Green functional lingerie, shoes, some masks and hats for the operating room

Volunteers are responsible for purchasing meals during their stay in Yaoundé.  All meals provided during mobile clinic trips.  If you want to cook, there is a kitchen in Dr. Bwelles house. Otherwise you find cheap and good street food everywhere.

Program costs cover basic accommodation for the Volunteers. Next to Dr. Bwelles house is a dormitory with 8 beds for basic accommodation. There is no flowing water, but handwater out of a barrel. The bathroom is shared with the gym next door.

If you prefer more luxury accommodation or you plan a longer stay, it is possible to organise accommodation. Alternative more luxurious housing options with running water, cook, bedding, WiFi, can be made available for an additional cost.

Airport Pick-Up:  ASCOVIME will pick you up at the airport.

Phone and Internet Access:  Upon arrival it is easy to buy a prepaid card for your mobile. You can also buy an internet stick, but the connection is very slow.